In a divorce, the characterization of property must be determined before the judge can divide and disperse the property. Characterization means determining whether a certain piece of property is the wife’s separate property, the husband separate property, or community property. This is not always easy to determine. Property acquired from the date of your marriage until the date of your separation, is legally presumed to be community property, which means it equally belongs to both spouses. If you acquired property before you got married, that property will remain your separate property unless you give it to your spouse or to the community in some form of a writing. Generally speaking community property will be divided 50/50. This includes money either party invested into their retirement accounts, monies in bank accounts, as well as debts incurred during the marriage. This can include debts that the other party is not listed on, and often don’t even know exist. If you have more specific question on this subject, feel free to give us a call at Pinkham & Associates. We would be happy to provide a free initial consultation.
If one or both of spouse started a business during marriage, that business is presumed to be community property. But, often times one of the parties owned a business before the marriage, and maybe that business increased or decreased in value during the marriage. If the business increased in value, that increased value is also presumed to be community property and must be valued and divided in a divorce. In both of these scenarios, the court will be obligated to divide any community property business interest.
At Pinkham & Associates, we are well versed and experienced in all aspects of business and self-employed interests as they relate to divorces. It is imperative from the outset that we know what income and assets we are dealing with, the value of that business interest, and very importantly, the characterization of that business interest. In other words, is all or part of the business value the separate property of one spouse or the other, or is the entire business value community property that must be divided in the divorce.
We at Pinkham & Associates have worked with all of the best known and most respected business experts in Southern California. We work with these professionals to determine the values of income, assets, and liabilities of the business and all other financial information relating to the business to determine the business valuation.
If you or your spouse are self-employed or own a business, feel free to give us a call at Pinkham and Associates and we would be happy to provide a free initial consultation to discuss some specifics with respect to your situation, to provide a little free advice while proving to you we are the firm to hire in your time of need.